Official recognition of the National Autonomous University of Mexico’s efforts to promote UNESCO Global Geoparks

23 August 2017

The Permanent Committee of the Mexican Congress held a ceremony to acknowledge the efforts of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) to promote UNESCO Global Geoparks in Mexico. Representatives of various parliamentarian groups presented this recognition to the Rector of UNAM, Enrique Graue Wiechers, and gave certificates to UNAM’s institutes of Geography and Geophysics, promoting the two recently designated Mexican UNESCO Global Geoparks: Mixteca Alta, Oaxaca and Comarca Minera, Hidalgo. These areas were the first to be recognized as geoparks in Mexico, a decision that was approved by UNESCO’s Executive Board during its 201st session, in May 2017. Held on 26 July, the event was also attended by local and indigenous representatives of both Geoparks, who symbolically gave staffs of command to the Rector of UNAM.

“With regards to geodiversity, the absence of Mexico on the UNESCO Global Geoparks world map was quite surprising” said Rector Graue Wiechers. “Comarca Minera and Mixteca Alta are the first two, but we know that there will be many more, given that Mexico’s territory is lavishly endowed by a rich nature.” He also highlighted UNAM’s actions to benefit Mexican people, and recognized that among these, supporting Geopark initiatives has become a priority. Speaking before the Congress delegates, he acknowledged the efforts of the researchers and students of the Geophysics and Geography institutes in preparing the successful applications of both Geoparks.

The rector took the opportunity to ask to the plenary for a greater commitment with this highly regarded university. UNAM conducts nation-wide activities like earthquake and sea level monitoring, surveying territorial waters and Mexico’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). It also hosts the national Library and Newspaper Archive, and now also supports Geoparks. The Rector argued that Mexico needs a strong University, with strong support.

UNESCO Global Geoparks are territories that promote geodiversity through community-led initiatives to enhance regional sustainable development. They help monitor and promote awareness of climate change and natural disasters and many of them help local communities prepare disaster mitigation strategies.